Video Friday: CES Robots, FIRST Competition, and Power Loader

Check out the coolest robots from the Consumer Electronics Show and more!

2 min read
Video Friday: CES Robots, FIRST Competition, and Power Loader

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) ends today in Las Vegas. As usual, there were lots of robots there, so today we bring you some videos from the show, in addition to our regular dose of robot footage, which this week includes a robotic band, FIRST's new game, and a real-life Power Loader. Happy Video Friday!

The Robots of CES 2013

The coolest robot announcement at CES was Lego's new Mindstorms EV3. The new kit is designed to be "more hackable," according to Lego itself. The p-brick now runs Linux, has a slot for memory and a USB port. And it's now easier to connect your Mindstorms projects to Android and iOS devices. I know. I want one too!


iRobot had a big booth at the show, where it was showing off its large assortment of cleaning robots as well as some new products. One of those was RP-VITA, developed in partnership with InTouch Health of Silicon Valley. It's probably the world's most advanced telepresence robot for hospitals. To understand why iRobot is interested in this technology, watch Paul Miller from The Verge talk about RP-VITA with iRobot CEO Colin Angle (starting at 1:54):

Via [ The Verge ]


Window-cleaning robots always appear at CES. But will people actually use them? Would you trust one to clean a high window and not fall on someone's head? I, for one, will wait for the Consumer Reports review before getting one.

Via [ Consumerist ]


Here's another robot I want: the Parrot AR Drone. This year the French firm came up with a new feature that gives the drone more autonomy: GPS. You plug a USB drive into the machine, upload a flight path, and off the drone goes. Or you can fly it manually and collect the GPS coordinates of your mission.


Last but not least, Titanoboa, a giant snake robot made an appearance at CES and swallowed some visitors. Just kiddin' ... But check out this thing in action. And no, it's not for sale.

Via [ CNET ]


And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

NASA's Curiosity landing on Mars was one of the biggest robot stories last year, and we've been keeping track of what the big rover is up to on the Red Planet. Lately, Curiosity has been trying out some of its new tools. The one it used most recently was a rotary brush that allow it to dust off some rocks.


Two words: Power Loader. That's right. This Japanese firm is developing a wearable exoskeleton equipped with two giant robotic arms that you can use to lift heavy stuff or squish aliens.

Via [ DigInfo ]


If you're a student or mentor participating in the FIRST robotics competition, it's that time of the year again: FIRST has unveiled this year's game, called Ultimate Ascent. Teams will have to design robots that can throw flying discs and climb on towers. Check out the animation showing the game's rules:

Via [ FIRST ]


This video went viral this week, but if you haven't seen it already, it shows a German metal band called Compressorhead, which consists of three hydraulic robots. They can play covers of Motorhead, AC/DC, and Black Sabbath. This is what you'd call Heavy Metal.

Thanks, Kogler and Michael!

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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